Welcome to Lettuce Veg Out, it’s so nice to meet you! I’m Nicole, a Vegan Registered Dietitian. It’s my mission to empower vegans to live a balanced life and gain confidence in the kitchen.
I started Lettuce Veg Out as a food blog back in 2016 and have a whole page dedicated to what Lettuce Veg Out is, as well as my approach to food and nutrition!
Why a Registered Dietitian?
I’ll be honest: for most of my life I didn’t know what a Registered Dietitian was, what they did, or how to become a vegan Registered Dietitian. However, from the moment I learned that becoming a Registered Dietitian was an option, I 100% knew it was the perfect fit for me. Six-and-a-half years later, I was finally able to call myself a Registered Dietitian! With personal experience and research beyond my nutrition degrees, I am happy to now call myself a vegan Registered Dietitian.
It’s not an easy task to become a Registered Dietitian, but it was worth it. From the moment I saw the outline for that nutrition program, I knew this career was everything I could want (cheesy, but true). For me, nothing sounded more appealing then getting to spend the rest of my life talking about food, specifically vegan food and nutrition.
I could not have found a better fit for my interests and skills. Every day I’ve been able to call myself a vegan Registered Dietitian has put a smile on my face. Nothing beats knowing about the human body, food, and nutrition and being able to share that with you!
Why a Vegan Registered Dietitian?
I was hesitant to call myself as a vegan Registered Dietitian due to the negativity commonly associated with veganism. For a while I used the term plant-based dietitian as I felt that was more appropriate.
However, I am personally vegan and now fully embrace this label. Given the horrendous nutrition information online related to vegan diets, I realized there was a huge need for a science-backed and trustworthy voice in vegan nutrition.
I’m here to empower vegans to take control of their nutrition and find balance in their lives.
That said, I use this title to help vegans find me, not to promote veganism or any ideology. As a Registered Dietitian I always use an individualized approach to nutrition and work with people who follow any number of eating patterns. It’s all about finding what works best for you. It’s also important to note that while dietary changes are a large part of veganism, veganism is not a diet, nor is it about the health of the individual (it’s about animals). The term vegan is often misused to refer to a diet, but I personally believe that without the ethical commitment to animals, someone isn’t vegan (and that’s ok).
Do I Specialize in Plant-based or Vegan Nutrition?
The term plant-based is not well defined but given the focus of my research and interests as a Registered Dietitian, I think it’s fair to say that I specialize in both vegan and plant-based nutrition.
Many of the people who choose to work with me are interested either in plant-based or vegan nutrition. Vegans especially seem to be happy to find a vegan Registered Dietitian as they often express fears of working with someone who doesn’t fully understand their dietary choices. While I wish it never happened, there are still practitioners out there who push consuming meat/ dairy/ eggs as a necessary part of a healthy diet.
What is my Educational Background and Experience?
To become a Registered Dietitian, there are a few standard steps:
1. Complete an undergraduate degree at an accredited university.
✓ I completed my undergraduate degree (Bachelors of Applied Science, Applied Human Nutrition) at the University of Guelph.
2. Complete a supervised post-degree diploma or Masters/practicum program.
✓ I completed a Masters/practicum program (Masters of Science in Foods and Nutrition) at Western University. I did a full year of placements, under the supervision of dietitians who are experts in their specialties. My placements focused on:
- Diabetes care
- Outpatient counselling (heart health, weight management, digestive conditions etc.)
- Community nutrition (program planning/ development/ implementation, presentations and public speaking
- Inpatient nutrition care (surgery, ICU, medicine, oncology)
3. Pass a national registration exam (the CDRE).
✓ I passed this exam, and became registered to practice as a dietitian in the province of Ontario.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nicole and/ or Being a Vegan Registered Dietitian
- What do you eat? I genuinely eat the recipes that I post to Lettuce Veg Out. I’ve made the majority of these recipes at least a few times each, and some I’ve made more times than I can count!
- How long have you been cooking? Since I could stand! As a kid I loved being in the kitchen and it hasn’t changed.
- Do you have any formal training in cooking/ culinary nutrition? No, I don’t have any formal training in culinary nutrition or recipe development; but I have years of experience cooking for myself and developing vegan recipes!
- Do you recommend becoming a Registered Dietitian? Honestly, it’s a tough journey. I generally tell people interested in this career to be completely sure this is what they want. Shadowing RDs in different areas can be extremely helpful.
- What are the job opportunities like for a vegan Registered Dietitian? Honestly, I’ve never seen a traditional job posting seeking out a vegan (or vegetarian) dietitian. If you want to specialize in this area, you will have to seek out opportunities for yourself, or create your own business!
- How did you find a partner/ husband who is vegan? Honestly, he wasn’t vegan when we met, not even close. And no, I didn’t “force” him to be vegan; in fact I rarely touched on the subject. My approach was to cook him awesome food and let him decide for himself how he wanted to eat. It took a while for him to look into the animal products industries, but once he did, he had no problem becoming vegan (my seitan recipe helped quite a bit with his transition as well).
- Did you have a vegan wedding? Yes, my husband was vegan by the time we got married and we had a fully vegan wedding. It was at our house and catered by a fantastic vegan restaurant (with part of the proceeds going to an animal sanctuary)!
- How long have you been vegan? I started transitioning to a plant-based diet in 2010. By 2011 I was fully vegetarian and in early 2016 I was completely vegan.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about me and what a vegan Registered Dietitian is/ does. I’d be happy to answer other questions and if you want to stay in touch, sign up for the Veg Out newsletter. You will receive the latest updates about vegan food and nutrition including recipes!